Going into the 2012 Belmont Stakes I'll Have Another has already shaken his toughest competitor, Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes bridesmaid Bodemeister, but he'll have an old competitor back to challenge him as he goes for the first Triple Crown since 1978 on June 9. Dullahan, who finished third in the Derby before he was held out of the Preakness, is back for more, and early predictions have him behind only I'll Have Another.
Union Rags, who the New York Daily News likes even more than Dullahan, is also considered a strong contender among horses who might play the spoiler role. He was a Derby favorite before a disappointing performance there, and like Dullahan was held out of the Preakness in preparation for this race.
I'll Have Another being the story of this race is simply unavoidable; he's already had an outstanding run, and he's one race from becoming a legend. But as we get closer to the day of the race we're likely to hear more about Dullahan, Union Rags, and the other competitors looking to snatch a piece of that history for their own.
More 2012 Belmont Stakes coverage from SB Nation St. Louis:
- The Triple Crown coverage has been great news for NBC, who looks to benefit handsomely when the ratings come in.
- Things could change before race day, but I'll Have Another will almost certainly remain the favorite.
- I, for one, find it comforting to know that horses speak human sports cliche as well as humans do.